Paul Schoff
Partner, Sydney
I advise on regulation and risk, focusing on competition law risks. My practice covers diverse and complex issues, requiring an understanding of a range of regulatory bodies and frameworks.

I specialise in advising on risks from the access and restrictive trade practices provisions of Australia's Competition & Consumer Act, including misuse of market power and price fixing. I manage risk for my clients from regulatory investigations, defend enforcement action under competition and securities laws, as well as achieve competition clearance for major mergers.

Specialties include: risk & regulatory, antitrust, competition law, cartels, communications regulation, securities regulation, executive accountability frameworks.

Career highlights

Risk and regulatory

  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia on regulatory investigations (ASIC & ACCC) in foreign exchange trading activity and alleged interest rate benchmark manipulation (BBSW).
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its implementation of Australia's Banking Executive Accountability regime (known as BEAR).
  • IAG on a variety of issues arising under the CCA, including the ACCC's ongoing Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry.

High profile merger clearances and cartel and related litigation

  • oOh!Media on its AU$570m acquisition of competitor Adshel.
  • IAG, Australia's largest general insurer, on successful ACCC clearance of its $1.45bn acquisition of Wesfarmers Insurance.
  • CIMIC on its $524m acquisition of UGL, an Australasian provider of engineering, construction and maintenance services.
  • Linfox Armaguard on its acquisition of the cash logistics business of Brink's Australia.
  • EMC on the optimal strategic approach to ACCC clearance in the context of massive Dell worldwide transaction with multiple antitrust filings and extensive regulator co-ordination.
  • ACCC clearance for Australian and New Zealand aspects of World Fuel Service's acquisition of Exxon's general aviation fuels business at 83 airports in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Defending Singapore Airlines Cargo in its prosecution by the ACCC for alleged airfreight cartel conduct and acting for it and Singapore Airlines in related class action proceedings.
  • Helping IATA to intervene in proceedings alleging that Flight Centre attempted to induce airlines (Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Emirates) to stop directly offering and booking their own international airfares (including over the internet) at prices less than Flight Centre offered.

Directories and awards

  • Leading Individual, Competition and Market Regulation - Chambers Asia Pacific: 2008 to 2020. Paul is "able to quickly grasp the commercial and technical drivers of any transaction and (is) very adept at identifying the regulatory risks and providing creative solutions to work around them".
  • Elite ranked practice - Global Competition Review 2020, for the tenth year running.
  • Recognised as Most Highly Regarded and a Thought Leader in Who's Who Legal – Competition 2019 to 2020. Clients describe Paul as a "creative and smart lawyer" with a "deep understanding of competition law".
  • Leading Individual, Competition and Trade - The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: 2020. Clients said "a seasoned veteran and master strategist" and "he has the full set of expertise and technical skills one would expect from a top-tier market leader, but differentiated by particularly high levels of emotional intelligence...amazingly easy to deal with and very confidence inspiring, so I am comfortable putting him before the Board".